If you say you’re going to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, it’s likely for one reason, and one reason only—The Greenbrier, a historic resort dubbed “America’s resort,” and a vacation destination with more than 200 years of history.
The fact is that for several decades Washingtonians have been coming to this 11,000-acre, 710-room resort for fun-filled getaways. It’s best known as the place where presidents, celebrities, and even royalty vacationed—not Harry & Meghan (yet!), but rather Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco once stayed here.
To this day, it’s still a place where Washington’s politicos go to hobnob, but you probably didn’t come here to #network. That’s a good thing because these days—thanks to several new features and resort upgrades—it’s even easier and more appealing to visit The Greenbrier for a relaxing weekend stay, whether you need some design inspiration, a spa rejuvenation session, a walk through history, or some decadent bites.
To make it even easier to get here, consider booking United Airlines new nonstop route from Dulles to White Sulphur Springs, which takes less than an hour and features rates as low as $142 one-way. Otherwise, the Amtrak is another easy and accessible option, or it’s a four-hour drive if you’re feeling up for a scenic road trip across the Appalachian Mountains.
Here are four fresh reasons why we are excited to visit The Greenbrier this summer:
Take a Sulphur Soak
There are several ways to relax and unwind at The Greenbrier, including a dip in the outdoor infinity pool or indoor Corinthian-columned swimming pool, but no stay is complete without a sulphur soak, one of the spa’s hydrotherapy treatments offered at $60 for a 25-minute session. The waters have a restorative effect, soothing sore muscles while helping to rebalance your body's natural minerals and rehydrate your skin. This is the age-old reason people have been coming to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and the key reason why it's still a top-favorites for some much needed R&R.
Dive Deep Into History
If you’ve got a question about the 200-year-old history of The Greenbrier, chances are good resident historian Bob Conte can give you an answer. His hour-long guided tour leaves from the main lobby daily at 10:30 a.m. (free of charge) and includes a walk back in time from the Greenbrier’s roots in America’s colonial and Civil War days to its more recent past when it served as a hospital for WWII veterans and a secret bunker for Congress during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Conte’s tour is free and filled with fun facts about famous guests who stayed at the resort, as well as the infamous design duo of Dorothy Draper and Carleton Varney, the duo responsible for the palate of colors that spread throughout the hotel. Just be sure to sign up early for the most infamous tour, the bunker tour—which at $39 per person is a bit steep, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience taking you on a behind-the-scenes tour of a decommissioned bunker that was once the rendezvous point for Congress if ever there was a nuclear attack.
Delight in Dorothy’s Drapes
The Greenbrier is synonymous with designer Dorothy Draper who ever since 1946 has left her mark on the hotel with bright and bold colors that stand out in the resort’s drapes, carpeting, wallpaper, hardware, and furniture accessories. Instagram to your heart’s delight as you experience the pastel color of her legacy, which is now carried on by her successor, Carleton Varney, who believes that design should reject all that is impractical, uncomfortable, and drab. Some of the most beloved and ornately decorated rooms include the Victorian Writing Room, Main Dining Room, Indoor Swimming Pool, and Lobby Bar.
Savor the Splurge
Finally, there a several very quick and easy ways to splurge, whether that’s at the hotel’s casino, which offers both card tables and slots, shops (aka retail therapy), or one of the fine-dining restaurants, which charge top dollar (and enforce a dress code) for fresh, seasonal, and Southern-style cooking. But maybe the best way to splurge is with room service dining. The elaborate, old-school service is an experience unto itself, as are the over-the-top desserts from executive pastry chef Jean Suteau, who will soon be competing on Food Network’s Best “Baker in America” series. Whether it’s a sweet tooth, shopping spree, or gambling streak, you’ll easily be able to let go of some extra cash.